Viewing web-hosted PDF files can be hit and miss at the best of times – will you be prompted to download the file to your hard drive, or will your browser attempt to open the file in a new window using your default PDF viewer? The latter option can be very hit and miss – particularly if the file you’re trying to open is a large one.
PDF Download allows you to choose exactly what happens when you click on a web link containing a PDF file. Now you can choose between downloading the file, opening it in a new tab or using the same tab. You can utilise your existing PDF viewer or using the PDF Download plug-in instead.
The main raison d’être of PDF Download, however, is to download and convert web-based PDF files. It’s capable of converting a PDF file into HTML for easier viewing, but can also convert in the opposite direction too, allowing you to convert a web page into PDF format for sharing or archiving purposes.
Why not use your existing bog-standard PDF printer driver? Anyone who’s tried will know it’s a distinctly hit-and-miss process – PDF Download claims to be optimised specifically for HTML-PDF conversion, resulting documents that closely resemble the original web page. There’s a price to pay, though – the conversion process is handled online, and can take a long time, even for relatively simple pages.
The major downside is that only three browsers – Firefox, Flack and Internet Explorer – have dedicated plug-ins with all of these features; other browsers (including Chrome and Safari) will have to make do with a bookmarklet that only supports the latter function, namely the conversion from web page to PDF.
Once installed, PDF Download can be configured by clicking its browser toolbar icon. Then work your way through a series of tabs fine-tuning the plugin to your exact requirements, making sure you specify an email address and/or download location for converted files.